The Hope College football team finished second in the 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll.
Coach Peter Stuursma's Flying Dutchmen received one first-place vote and totaled 13 points. Trine was a unanimous preseason favorite with seven first-place votes and seven points. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.
Hope was followed by Adrian (20 points), Olivet (26), Albion (30), Alma (37), Kalamazoo (42), and Finlandia (49). This is Finlandia's first season as an MIAA affiliate.
The Flying Dutchmen are coming off a 2017 season in which they recorded their ninth eight-win season with an 8-2 overall record. They finished MIAA runner-up for the second consecutive season with a 5-1 record in league play.
In 2017, Hope set school records with 377 points scored and 2,808 rushing yards.
The Flying Dutchmen bring back five starters on offense, including junior quarterback Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS), junior receiver Christian Bos of Hudsonville, Michigan (Unity Christian), and junior left tackle Timothy Ivery of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Brother Rice).
The Hope defense relies on six returners, including junior linebacker Mason Dekker of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa), the top returning tackler. Senior defensive tackle Ian Gorgenson of DeWitt, Michigan (Lansing Catholic Central) and senior defensive back Kimani Dooley of Detroit, Michigan (Clarenceville) also are veteran playmakers for the Flying Dutchmen.
Hope opens the 2018 season on Friday, August 31 with the Community Day opener against Millikin University (Illinois).
Kickoff is 7 p.m at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.